Video: Maine Workers Tear Fully Conscious Lobsters Limb From Limb

PETA Wants Legal Action After Footage Reveals Live Lobsters Dismembered Despite Less Cruel Methods in Use Elsewhere

For Immediate Release:
December 19, 2018

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Prospect Harbor, Maine

PETA has obtained video footage captured inside the slaughterhouse at Maine Fair Trade Lobster—a subsidiary of the East Coast Seafood Group, which supplies lobster parts to Costco, Hannaford, Giant Eagle, and other national food distributors—showing lobsters being dismembered while still conscious and able to feel pain. Some lived for hours after they were torn apart.

PETA has submitted the video and filed a complaint with the Gouldsboro Police Department and District Attorney Matthew Foster is reviewing the case. The footage shows workers tearing off fully conscious lobsters’ claws, puncturing their shells, and ripping their abdomens and tails from the rest of their bodies, all of which the animals can survive. The group points out that Maine’s anti-cruelty statute protects all animals—including lobsters—from mutilation, torture, and “attempts to kill an animal by a method that does not cause instantaneous death.”

“Lobsters have complicated and sophisticated nervous systems, causing them to suffer immensely as they’re torn to pieces in this way,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “This tremendous cruelty has been documented time and again, and PETA is calling on consumers to wake up to the cruelty that they’re paying for and keep lobsters and all other animals off their plates.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that lobsters are intelligent individuals who use complex signals to establish social relationships and take long-distance seasonal journeys, often traveling up to 100 miles in a year. The group had previously obtained video footage at the now-defunct Sea Hag Seafood and Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster, which revealed very similar killing methods: Live lobsters were impaled, torn apart, and decapitated—even as their legs continued to move.

PETA further notes that scientists in the European Union have classified lobsters as “category I”—animals who without a doubt can feel pain. Joining them in this category are dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, and humans, among others.

Broadcast-quality video footage and PETA’s complaint are available upon request. For more information, please visit

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